Thursday, August 25, 2016

"The unraveling of the American mind"

Today's Daily Star editorial is by Leonard Pitts Jr. who contends that "conservatives have wrecked the very idea of objective, knowable fact."

Last week, a prominent conservative pundit [Charlie Sykes] conceded a point yours truly and countless others have been making for a long time.

Namely, that in their constant assaults on mainstream news media, conservatives have wrecked the very idea of objective, knowable fact.

In effect, they broke reality. And Donald Trump came oozing out of the ruins.

But more important than the ascendancy of know-nothing Trumpism, we are faced with paralysis in our daily discourse and a generation, at least, of young Americans for whom "ignorance, intransigence and incoherence" is the new normal.

The result has been nothing less than the unraveling of the American mind.

We have become a nation of junk history, junk science, junk fact, junk logic, junk thought, a nation where not knowing things is no longer a bar to high office and may even be an advantage, a nation where it is necessary to debate whether a birth certificate is really a birth certificate and Donald Trump followers think the election will be “rigged.”

Nor are bizarre conspiracy theories limited to the right. As anyone who has ever argued the supposed link between vaccines and autism can attest, they have infiltrated the left, too.

This, then, is the legacy of modern conservatism: a nation where left and right have no real ability to communicate across the issues that divide because, in a fundamental sense, they have no language in common.

We cannot confront our most pressing problems because we cannot even discuss them.

Don’t forget: We’ve now had a generation of young people come of age with ignorance, intransigence and incoherence as their daily norm. The damage from that is profound and will not be easily fixed. It took us years to get here.

It will take years more to find our way home.

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